the Art and Practice of divination by the interpretation of symbolic patterns made by tea leaves in a teacup. People have been drinking tea for about five thousand years, and it is likely they have been reading the leaves that long as well
Tealeaf reading, also known as tasseomancy or tasseography, began with the ancient Chinese, who read the residue in the bottom of their cups for patterns, signs, and omens.
As tea found its way into the Western world, the art of tealeaf reading took hold in Europe. In the mid-seventeenth century, tea drinking was still mainly an aristocratic affair, but as trade, and hence, availability increased, so too did the popularity of this exotic brew, with all its ritual, social, and preparative curative possibilities.
Soon, the lower classes, who had been burning their extremities for centuries in such outmoded divinatory practices as molybdomancy (reading the future from molten lead in water), and ceromancy (reading the future from melted candle wax), saw the error of their ways and turned to reading the dregs of their drinks; everything from wine to coffee.Tea was quickly adopted as the revelatory beverage of choice (why waste perfectly good wine?)
By the mid-nineteenth century, the "Gypsy" soothsayer, calling door-to-door to read leaves, was a social fixture. According to one "Highland Seer," the author of what is probably the oldest book in English on the practice of tasseomancy, generations of Scottish spae-wives (from the old Norse spa meaning prophesy) used their skill and intuition to examine the dregs of their morning teas for signs of things to come.
Tasseomancy is thought to be largely dependent on psychic intuition. Tea is poured into a cup without the use of a strainer.The one seeking psychic help, the inquirer, consumes all of the liquid tea in the cup.If any moisture remains it is shaken out onto a napkin. The leaves remain in the bottom of the cup, which the diviner observes to see what patterns are formed. Another method is to leave a little moisture in the cup. This allows the leaves or dregs to be swished around. The cup is the upturned into the saucer. The reader picks up the cup and begins examining the formation of the dregs.
Due to technical modernization tea bags have arrived, but readers have circumvented this by cutting the bags and dropping the leaves into the cup. In some instances coffee grounds are used, but the practice is less common.
Italians, in the 18th century, claimed they invented the coffee-ground form of the divination. Also, they believed the prophecies came from demons so the diviners recited incantation during their practices such as: "Aqua boraxit venias carajos," "Fixitur et patricam explinabit tornare," and "Hax verticalines pax Fantas marobum, max destinatus, veida porol." It was believed that if such incantations were done incorrectly, the reading would be inaccurate.